Solar outdoor lighting, in the form of walkway lights is becoming increasingly popular as it is both an energy efficient and relatively simple way to provide outdoor light. Local home and garden stores and the internet have made a wide selection of these solar lights available, and more and more homeowners as well as landscape designers are choosing them for practical as well as decorative landscape lighting purposes.
How Outdoor Solar Lighting Works
Solar walkway lights are energy-efficient, solar powered lighting fixtures installed on the sides of walkways in the yard, often blending with LED step lights, used for both safety and as accent lighting. They work by converting the energy from sunlight during the day into stored electricity that can be used at night.
Depending on the size of the solar panel and the battery, solar walkway lights should be able to give up to 10 hours of light. The main components of this type of lighting system includes the following:
- Light Fixture – This can either be a bulb or an LED light, depending on the preferred brightness and longevity.
- Solar panel – This is the device that captures energy from the sun and converts it to electricity. The amount of energy it collects depends on the size and the quality of the panel.
- Battery – Batteries are usually of the NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) type because they are better suited to constant recharging.
- Timers or light sensors – These are used to automatically turn the lights on or off.
Installing Solar Walkway Lighting
There are two common ways of installing solar yard lights – either planted or recessed installation. Planted installations are when the fixtures come with a stake that can be planted in the ground along the walkway.
Recessed installations are when the lights are mounted so they are level with the ground. Both installations supply enough light to guarantee the safety of your walkway.
Because there is no wiring, installation is relatively easy and very safe. Solar landscaping lights with a stake are very easy to install and move; recessed solar landscape lighting can be a little more difficult depending on the type you choose, but overall both are relatively easy.
You can also use solar rock lights on your walkways either to accent the other lights, or in cases where there is a short walkway. These are probably the easiest type of solar powered outdoor lights to install and move. They work great as solar garden or patio lights as well.
Maintaining Your Solar Walkway Lights
Solar walkway lights are generally maintenance free and only require battery and bulb changes after several months, or even years. However, to get the most out of your lights, it is recommended to install them in locations where the solar panels will be in direct sunlight for the most part of the day.
Keeping the solar panels free of debris will also make them more efficient. Models that use LEDs instead of traditional bulbs shouldn’t require changing because they are usually designed to last. The built in timer or sensor also ensures that the solar pathway lights will always come on at night, and go off automatically during the day.
The advantages in solar technology has made these lights very affordable. Solar walkway lights are appealing because not only are they an effective way of saving on energy bills but also because they now come in a wide variety of styles and materials that can easily fit into the theme of your yard, deck, patio and garden.
The best landscape lighting designs not only look great, they also provide safety and security which is what you get with solar walkway lights._____________________________________